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Peter-Maskaev Undercard: Williamson vs McCline

When boxing promoter Don King could not come to acceptable terms to deliver the services of his heavyweight contender DaVarryl “Touch of Sleep” Williamson to fight unretiring WBC “champion emeritus” Vitali Klitschko, he unknowingly set in motion the circumstances for another fight.

Klitschko later announced he was going to face Jameel McCline on Sept. 22 in Munich, Germany, but cancelled the match due to an apparent back surgery on Sept. 9, just five days before McCline was scheduled to leave for Germany, marking the fifth consecutive match in a row where Klitschko has been unable to participate.

Promoter Don King has stepped in to fill the void by announcing that Williamson will face McCline as a featured heavyweight attraction on the Oct. 6 WBC heavyweight championship card at Madison Square Garden pitting champion Oleg Maskaev against No. 1-ranked mandatory challenger Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare” Peter.

“Williamson versus McCline is a fight made by Vitali Klitschko,” King said. “Vitali’s people couldn’t come to terms with me for Williamson, and Vitali himself did what he usually does, he backed out of a fight, this time with McCline. Now I’ve brought Williamson and McCline together to prove they are worthy of a world title shot.”

Williamson, who knocked down Vitali’s brother Wladimir in the fourth round when they met in Las Vegas on Oct. 2, 2004, and was ahead on one judge’s scorecard when the fight was stopped due to an accidental clash of heads, sparred with Vitali the day before he pulled out of the fight with McCline.

“I don’t know what they [the Klitschko camp] anticipated from me [in sparring] but I will tell you they got their money’s worth,” Williamson said. “It was competitive on both sides.

“I sparred with Vitali on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday [Sept. 4, 6 and 7] and didn’t notice anything unusual,” Williamson said. “I didn’t know anything about his injury, which they said happened the next day on Saturday [Sept. 8]. I don’t know what happened between Friday and Saturday morning.”

The 6-foot 4-inch Williamson, ranked No. 4 by the World Boxing Association, will battle 6-foot-6-inch Jameel “Big Time” McCline in a battle of big, tall heavyweights.

“I am very disappointed that fight with Vitali is not happening on Sept. 22, but I promise that whenever and if ever he steps into the ring with me I will put him on his now supposedly surgically repaired back,” McCline said.

“Now that Vitali’s backed out, DaVarryl Williamson has stepped up and he’s getting knocked out. There is no way I’m going to be denied on Oct. 6.”

World Boxing Organization 2006 Manager of the Year Scott Hirsch manages McCline.

“This is the second time I’ve gone down the road with Team Klitschko only to lose the bout at the last moment,” Hirsch said. “This is also the second time my good friend Don King has stepped in to save the day, delivering fights when the Klitschkos could not.”

Tickets priced at $400, $250, $150, $100 and $50 (more than 14,000 tickets are $150 or less!) are on sale now at the Garden box office and all Ticketmaster locations or by calling Ticketmaster at 212-307-7171, 201-507-8900, 631-888-9000, or 914-454-3388. Ticketmaster purchases are subject to convenience charges.

Williamson (24-4, 20 KOs) from Denver, Colo., is coming off two knockout wins. On May 6, 2006, Williamson scored a fourth-round technical knockout over previously undefeated Mike Mollo and, in his last appearance on July 6, he stopped Maurice Wheeler in round three.

This will be Williamson’s third fight at the World’s Most Famous Arena, winning in back-to-back Garden appearances against former heavyweight champion Oliver “The Atomic Bull” McCall by unanimous decision in 2004 and in a second-round TKO over Derrick Jefferson in 2005 that also earned him the WBC Continental Americas title.

Williamson fought one of the best fights of his career when he met Wladimir Klitschko on Oct. 2, 2004. “Touch of Sleep” unloaded a slumberous straight right hand that sent the Ukrainian giant to the mat in round four. Williamson tried to finish him, but Klitschko was able to survive the round.

An accidental head butt opened up a nasty cut on Klitschko’s forehead in round five. He was able to finish the round, but the ringside physician halted the bout before the beginning of the sixth round, sending the match to the judges’ scorecards for a decision. One judge had Williamson ahead 48 to 46, but the remaining two judges favored Klitschko, both scoring the fight 49-47, allowing the fading Klitschko to escape with a split-decision victory.

Williamson earned his first and only world title shot on Oct. 1, 2005, facing International Boxing Federation heavyweight champion Chris Byrd, losing by decision in an uninspired bout Williamson claims was due in part to the fact that he and Byrd are friends outside the ring.

Williamson, one of the few boxers who can boast having a master’s degree as well as being a stand-up comedian, can’t wait to get back into a world title match and sees McCline as the stepping stone.

“I love fighting big guys and I know that I won’t have to go look for McCline,” Williamson said. “He’ll be right there in front of me and my big right hand. I’m risking a lot, and I could just sit on it and wait, but I’m not that type of fighter.”

McCline (38-7-3, 23 KOs), born in Harlem and residing in West Palm Beach, Fla., last fought in Madison Square Garden on Nov. 13, 2004, against Chris Byrd for the International Boxing Federation heavyweight championship.

McCline stunned Byrd with a staggering right hand that floored the champion early in the second round, which almost ended the fight. Byrd amazingly finished the round and the fight, and McCline ended up on the losing end of a razor-thin split decision.

Following the loss to Byrd, and a couple of stumbling blocks, McCline put together another string of six wins to earn another shot at world heavyweight championship, this time against Nikolai “Russian Giant” Valuev. At a weight of over 590 pounds, it was the heaviest combined weight for a title belt in history.

McCline fought well before suffering a twisted knee just as the bell sounded to end the third round. The freak injury left him unable to continue in the bout.

A three-sport high school star that went on to play collegiate basketball, McCline began boxing at a “late stage” and after a two-win, two-loss, one-draw record to begin his heavyweight career, he began to soar through the rankings, putting together a streak of 28 fights without suffering a loss.

His first world title fight came on Dec, 7, 2002, against then-World Boxing Organization heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. McCline lost a hard-fought battle by a 10th-round technical knockout before winning his next three fights to set up the meeting with Byrd.

Two other domestically non-televised matches had previously been added to the card. Two-time 147- and 154-pound world champions Jose Antonio Rivera (38-5-1, 24 KOs), from Worcester, Mass., and Daniel Santos (30-3-1, 21 KOs), from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, will square off in an elimination bout to determine the WBA super welterweight No. 1 ranking as well as become mandatory challenger to new WBA champion Joachim Alcine.

Polish favorite Andrew Golota (39-6-1, 32 KOs), from Warsaw, will take on Mike Tyson conqueror Kevin “The Clones Colossus” McBride (34-5-1, 29 KOs), from Ireland, in a second special heavyweight attraction.

The main event of Maskaev vs. Peter will be televised on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING beginning at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) and is being promoted by Don King Productions and Duva Boxing in association with Madison Square Garden.

Vitali Klitschko: 5 “Ducks” In A Row

18.09.07 – With Vitali Klitschko pulling out of his fifth consecutive boxing match in a row, the following is a chronological list of Vitali’s dubious heavyweight maneuverings from 2004 to present.

– Vitali Klitschko has never made a mandatory defense of a world title (WBC or WBO).

– Vitali Klitschko defeats Corrie Sanders by technical knockout in round eight on April 24, 2004, at Staples Center in Los Angeles to win the vacant WBC heavyweight title (vacated by Lennox Lewis).

– Pursuant to “WBC Rule 1.25 Vacant Title,” Klitschko was able to petition the WBC “to approve one voluntary defense, with the condition that the winner must meet his official challenger next.” The WBC granted the exception paving the way for Klitschko to meet Danny Williams on Dec. 11, 2004.

– Hasim Rahman defeats Kali “Checkmate” Meehan in New York at Madison Square Garden in a WBC heavyweight championship elimination bout on Nov. 13, 2004, to become the WBC mandatory challenger.

– Vitali Klitschko makes an optional defense against Danny Williams in Los Angeles on Dec. 11, 2004, winning by technical knockout in round eight.

– Tom Loeffler, Klitschko’s promoter at K2 Promotions, states on Dec. 24, 2004, that Vitali’s hands “were badly swollen but not broken” after his fight with Williams and that the timetable for future bouts “depends on Vitali’s hands.”

– Klitschko agrees in February 2005 to make a mandatory defense against Rahman on April 30, 2005, at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

– The April 30, 2005, meeting is rescheduled to June 18, 2005, after Vitali suffers what is called a “thigh injury” while jogging.

– Klitschko re-schedules this mandatory defense to July 23, 2005, claiming his thigh did not respond to treatment.

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